Vavenby’s Cory Graffunder has become the first Canadian to win a medal in men’s Enduro X. He took third place during X Games 18 in Los Angeles on July 1.
Graffunder is described as “Canada’s best off road racer” in an online biography.
Last year he watched the X Games from the stands after breaking his wrist in a practice crash a few days earlier.
“It was probably the biggest disappointment of my life, getting injured right before X Games,” Graffunder said. “To follow it up with the bronze the next year is the biggest achievement of my life.”
Graffunder came through in the last chance qualifier to make the final.
First place went to American Mike Brown while second went to Cody Webb, also of the U.S.
Close behind Graffunder in fourth spot was 2011 Enduro X winner Taddy Blazusiak. Last year’s winner made a late race charge but was unable to catch the young man from Vavenby.
In addition to being the first Canadian to win a medal in men’s Enduro X, Graffunder was also the first Husqvarna racer to earn an X Games medal since 2004.
“I can’t even describe how it feels,” Graffunder said. “I really never thought I would ever hold an X Games medal.”
With his podium finish at X Games, round three of the GEICO AMA EnduroCross Series, Graffunder moves into fifth in points.
Graffunder started his career in Canadian enduro-style racing. After winning everything there was to win in Canada, he switched to motocross for a new challenge. After that he discovered Enduro-Cross.
According to Wikipedia, Enduro-cross events are typically held in hockey or downsized basketball arenas. It is different from super-cross mainly in that there are “hard rock sections” and wooden parts (resembling fallen trees) akin to enduro and technical ‘trials’ courses, rather than tarmac in between jumps. Tracks incorporate various elements of off-road riding, including rocks, boulders, logs, sand, mud, a water-hole and special obstacles (like giant tires). An enduro-cross course is much faster than a trials course and much slower than a super-cross course.
Recently a sport science team wired up some of the best riders from enduro-cross with accelerometers and heart rate monitors during an event. The findings confirmed that their heart rates nearly maxed out the entire time and the impacts from some of the obstacles were similar to taking a hit from an NFL defensive back. Over the course of a main event, they experienced accelerations of at least five Gs 115 times, which is similar to 15 rounds of a heavyweight boxing match.